Stories Talk | Presentation Skills and Effective Storytelling
Under pressure at work? Who isn't under pressure almost all day long? Let's see what we can do to manage stress.
By Mia Kollia
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos
Veteran US tennis player Billie Jean King has said that "stress is a privilege", but according to the UK's Mental Health Foundation, "stress is our body's response to pressure". Whatever our job may be, the chances are that we face - or we are going to face - this kind of pressure. We are going to face work-related stress from time to time or, perhaps, even on a daily basis.
The good news is that there are ways to fight stress, employing some techniques that if we incorporate them into our daily life, will help us lighten our mood. Recent CareerBuilder survey data reveals that employees are trying to combat stress with methods that include listening to music, going for a walk, taking a day off, or even having a cup of coffee during a break rather than sitting in front of a screen.
How else do people relieve work stress? Our research revealed that:
• 35% do stretching
• 17% take time for a lunch break
• 16% do a ten-minute relaxation meditation
• 13% set a specific time to respond to emails
• 12% go to work outside the office for a couple of hours (e.g. coffee shop)
Other tips to find time to relax during work:
• We put a reminder on the mobile, which urges us to move every hour.
• We adopt a productivity method like the Pomodoro technique, according to which, we do 25 minutes of work and five minutes of break. After four cycles, we take a 20 minute break. Taking regular breaks gives our brains a chance to relax and come back more refreshed. Knowing that we can only work for a short period of time makes it much easier to stay engaged and motivated.
• We talk to a colleague about something unrelated to work. We find someone with whom we share common interests and make small talk that lifts our spirits.
• If we work from home, when noon comes we subconsciously feel more tired, because while we see the couch, we know it's not yet time to rest. Once in a while, it would be nice to reward ourselves by eating out for example.
• Let's just take a deep breath. When we feel too stressed, let's take a breather. We inhale through our nose slowly and then exhale through our mouth as if blowing out the candles on our birthday cake.
Stress often leads to changes in our routine, such as in our eating habits and sleep
Many times the evening comes and we find it difficult to leave behind work-related thoughts, as a result of which we lose sleeping time. It has been observed that most people have not learned to recognise and accept their achievements and good points. That's why, at the end of the day, it would be good to make a conscious effort, asking ourselves: "what have I accomplished today?, what have I done well?, what new things/skills have I learned??...". Questions like these will direct our attention to the positive parts of our experience that we often ignore. So instead of letting our mind and thoughts guide us, let's remind ourselves that we are in control and can choose which parts of our experience we want to focus on.
If the effects of stress are severe or start to affect our daily life, we need to manage it more aggressively. It is normal to feel stressed at work, more or less from time to time, but if this prevents us from functioning well, it would be a good idea to seek the help of an expert.